I love music. A few years ago, through my parents, I came in contact with the work of Paul Simon. I immediately liked some of his songs, especially some Simon and Garfunkel songs. Most notably, The Boxer. Over the past couple years my appreciation for his music has flamed into all-out devotion. I just love it. I love the lyrics, the poetry of it—the originality of the music. I am a lover of many different things—the world fascinates me to no end. It is always new. And the way Paul Simon blends so many different sounds and cultures...it just sings to my soul in a way that goes deep, but burns with the fuel of life in all its bigness and beauty. It's safe to say that I think he is the one of the greatest musicians that will ever be. He is a personal music-idol.
So when I found Paul Simon: ALife, by Marc Eliot, I was beyond thrilled. To say nothing of actually finding it at the library! I just devoured the book. It was so real, so personable, simple. It breathed life into my meager knowledge of the music industry of Paul Simon's (and on-going) time, and for my understanding of the artist himself. It is times when I read bios like this that I feel like they are the fodder for authors looking for ways to figure out their own fictional characters—these are real. And we get a more intimate understanding, which feeds into understanding characters we create. If anyone asked me what book would I suggest for reading up on Paul Simon, I would advise this in a heartbeat. With all the things we love about the artist, and those who were/are in his life, there are those flaws that we know just fills the everyday. Things we don't like, but can understand—others we can't. Some things we can't love them in spite of. Because it is this utter humanness that makes them so special—because it is what they breathe into their art. And that, in turn, is what makes it so big. So larger than life.
Who can't be touched by BridgeOver Troubled Water? It is a song to sing as a testament of your devotion to another, in a way that is so simple, sincere--sweet. And who doesn't understand the gutting pain of The Boxer? Every human being who has walked the earth is a boxer—they have had their dreams, and have suffered the beatings life throws them. But still humanity remains in the ring. Still going. And there are so many other songs, that are just a wild celebration of life as it is.
So what is there not to relate to in the words Paul Simon has to share? I have a high mark to strive for in my own music. An incredible example. I have my eye on a gorgeous guitar that has my name all over it, and my fingers can't wait to strum its strings, to breath life into its voice. I can only strive as high as others have done. I have no excuse to not give it my gut-wrenching best, to walk the road of those who have gone before, and are still walking.
Go and get the book, and tell me what you think! Paul Simon: A Life is available on Amazon.